Here’s how the interaction with the crowd in the school’s gymnasium played out:
“As a fifth-grade student, I was a horrible student. Anybody here in fifth grade?,” Carson said.
A large group of students all seated together in the bleachers raised their hands.
“Who’s the worst student? Now …” Carson said with a chuckle, pausing for laughs from the crowd, then the finger-pointing.
Carson went on: “Well, let me tell you, if you had asked that question in my classroom, there would have been no doubt.”
When asked how he felt, Seth said, “I was laughing,” adding that he would vote for Carson if he could. A Carson volunteer immediately found the student in the audience to give him a pat on the back and a copy of Carson’s book, “You Have a Brain.”
Campaign staff also arranged a quick personal meeting for Seth with Carson backstage before leaving Cedar Rapids.
“You’re going to be a neurosurgeon, OK?” Carson told Seth.
Seth’s teacher and others in the crowd who knew him said he’s not the worst student in his class, but actually is well liked and “a class jokester.”
His mother said she assumes that’s why he was classmates pointed at him.
“Personally I know he’s not the worst,” said Blackford, who works as a guidance secretary at a public middle school nearby.
She said the family has watched the “Gifted Hands” movie about Carson’s life story and Carson has spoken at their church, where her husband is a pastor. She added she’s an undecided vote and the interaction would not prevent her from supporting Carson.
The Cedar Rapids event was part of three public campaign stops Carson made in Iowa on Thursday.